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Ryback: Why the IWC has it all wrong

Rating: 2 votes, 3.00 average.
When I hear the crowd mocking Ryback with "Goldberg" chants, I shake my head.

When I read how Ryback can't cut a promo when he hasn't yet been given the chance, I die a little inside.

Ok, maybe I was a little over dramatic on that last one. But nonetheless, characters like Ryback and the subsequent response by we, the IWC, has led me to perhaps give perspective as to why this man should be encouraged and cheered to succeed, rather than be dismissed as yet another failure by the WWE.

I understand that the last handful of years has been difficult for wrestling enthusiasts. We are the generation of wrestling fans who lived through the golden ages of wrestling: 80's and early 90's of the wrestling boom; the NWO; WWF's Attitude era which encompassed the Mcmahan/Helmsley era, Invasion era up to where I believe we are currently at. the Post Wrestlemania 21/PG-era. (My personal opinion is that Wrestlemania 21 was the last great Wrestlemania which culminated with John Cena and Batista winning their first top championship belts, angle vs HBK, a young Orton v. Undertaker). Now what makes WM21 an important moment is the residual effect it's had on today's product. Cena and Batista were waaaaaaay over at that moment in time. We had reason to believe as fans that these two were going to take the torch and lead us into the next era of wrestling. That didn't work out too well. Batista proved to become uninteresting over time then eventually left WWE, and we were left with Cena. Yes, the John Cena little kids love, and big kids can't stand anymore. The transition from tv-14 to TVPG assisted greatly in this at epic fall, but I digress. The issue since then has become the problem in finding the "next" guys since these 2 seemingly failed.

Our attention spans have become that of a fly. If someone doesn't grab our attention right away, we dismiss them. Or, in Ryback's case, we mock them as retreaded ideas of the past, or someone who's too "green" to be interested in. I'd find this rational to be funny if it wasn't so sad. What amazes me is how Ryback's character has been on TV for about 6 months now, yet many in the IWC have already written his obituary. We see his intense pre-match presence, we call him Goldberg. We don't hear him on the mic, we assume he can't cut a promo. Not even 1 years worth of substance, and already he has been judged. This is where a history lesson is needed:

Perhaps you youngins don't remember way back when the Undertaker came onto the WWF scene. I do. And I remember thinking "how f'in stupid is this character." A big guy wearing oversized rubber gloves with too much pale makeup on, barely taking bumps. The biggest thing that stood out was beyond a couple mumbled sentences and his "rest in peace" catchphrase, the first 2 years of his career, he didn't cut 1 SINGLE DECENT PROMO! He didn't talk! But we gave him a chance. We gave him time to grow before dismissing him. And slowly but surely, he became one of the WWE's most beloved and respected characters.

Lesson learned? Don't assume because I guy doesn't talk on the mic, it means he can't. Big misnomer there kids. These guys are characters. And when building a character up, you don't use the same ingredients to develop them. Ryback's character, for now, isn't meant to speak. His "actions to the speaking for him." Rolling your eyes? About to chant the next guy I'm going to talk about's name?


See Goldberg is an interesting case given the timing of his push happening at the apex of WCW's popularity along with the dominance of the Attitude Era. Here was a guy who didn't say anything except...wait for it...."who's next!" He was unassuming. His character was meant to be a bulldozing "good guy" who's actions spoke for the words he didn't. Whether Bill Goldberg could or couldn't cut a good promo is irrelevant. His "character" wasn't meant to speak in the same vein as the Rock, SCSA, Nash, Hogan etc....And yet he got over big time. Crowds loved him. It was because he didn't speak much that I believe his character worked. My point being where I miss the mic talkers who could produce in the ring, I don't need EVERY character I like to fit that mold. Occasionally, we just want the huge, strong ass kicker. Few words, just action.

I hold WWE, along with TNA, ROH and other wrestling promotions, accountable for keeping us interested by developing characters we care to follow. But I also sympathize with their position. We have developed incredibly short attention spans. We ask these promotions to wow us, but don't give them the proper amount of time to do so. If the character is lame at the beginning, they become labeled as such, and we move on.

Listen, the onus falls on the heads of the higher-ups in WWE. The writers and bookers deserve the majority of the blame for the current state of wrestling. But we as fans have a responsibility to be more patient than we have been.

Ryback is a perfect case in point. He is growing on me week after week. And while squash matches no longer help his cause, they are at the very least trying him out in bigger situations. Last night's Raw gives me hope for this guy's future. The pop he received at the end was refreshing to see and hear. Perhaps he's not the "next guy," but unlike most in the IWC, I'm not going to right him off. Ryback isn't Dameon Sandow (<candidate for next big thing in WWE), but he's not suppose to be. Forget trying to recreate the Rock or Stone Cold, let's appreciate each character and their differences, so that they are unique, and not all trying to be the same "guy." We've suffered and complained long enough. For once, let's give Ryback, and this next crop of future guys for that matter, more than a few months to win us over. If for nothing else, this may be the last crop of wrestlers who if they fail, we may finally start tuning out for good.....and that will be a dark day for this guy.

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Updated 10-09-2012 at 03:05 PM by steezin4areezin



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  1. SHW's Avatar
    damn...great read dude.

    i agree 100% with you assessment on our attention spans...wait what was i saying?

    anyway, yes, we are always looking for, "the next big thing", and missing what is right in front of us.

    we compare superstars of today to legends, we romanticize about the past, and are too quick to judge if a gimmick will work or not.

    i mean look at some of these 2 legends :

    hogan mimicked superstar billy grahams look and personality
    ric flair took buddy rodgers nickname, finishing move, and personality.

    now because a guy is intense he gets called "goldberg"? i fail to see the similarities between goldberg and ryback.

    now if ryback came out with black shorts, boots, goatee, smoke, used a spear and jackhammer...i could see it.

    but why do we not chastise flair and hogan for taking others gimmicks after they retired?
  2. Double Axehandle's Avatar
    Ryback is one botch away from ending someone's career. He dropped swagger on his head and against$!?

    Hes going to hurt someone unless they change him from powerful destroyer to more rounded wrestler.
  3. Darkside Ron Garvin's Avatar
    The IWC never has anything wrong... We're the best Arm-Chair Bookers you'll ever know of!
  4. Darkside Ron Garvin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by SHW
    but why do we not chastise flair and hogan for taking others gimmicks after they retired?
    There's a difference in being "given" a gimmick and "taking" a gimmick with the blessing of someone. Personally, the similarity is as simple as the 30 second matches to build him as unstoppable against people he should destroy anyway, just like Goldberg. Using a more basic move as a secondary option when he can't preform his primary (Goldberg had the Spear to his Jackhammer... Ryback has the Lariat to his Shell Shock). Third, they are booking him the same way they booked Goldberg. Still have yet to see Ryback in a match longer than 7 mins. In his first 6 months, did we see any Goldberg matches that went longer than 7 mins?

    Sorry, there are a lot of things similar to Goldberg, but that doesn't mean Ryback can't break out of that mold. It will take giving some more to the character than this "robot-like" character that no one can attatch emotions too... Only chants.
  5. Pearl River Plunge's Avatar
    excellent read man, I myself am enjoying the hell out of this Ryback run.

    I'd also like to add that technically everyone is one botch away from ending someones career.
  6. ewantu2's Avatar
    WM 28 was great the only match that sucked was the diva match.
  7. DK Wrestling Savior's Avatar
    I like the read. However, gotta call you out on a few things.

    1. when you get into Goldberg, you basically write exactly what Ryback is...yet in the beginning, you state you shake your head when people mock him with the Goldberg chant. I feel you're failing to recognize that he's a recycled Goldberg. Plain and Simple. Vince and WWE know that too, which is why they mimic the quick camera pull up and close up on him at the top of the ramp with his entry, and have him staring at the camera after every power move. I personally have never said anything about him not being able to cut a promo, because there are very few who can do that these days. *Ready my blog on Talking vs Cutting Promo*

    2. "Perhaps you youngins don't remember way back when the Undertaker came onto the WWF scene. I do. And I remember thinking "how f'in stupid is this character." A big guy wearing oversized rubber gloves with too much pale makeup on, barely taking bumps."

    Something tells me you weren't actually thinking that back then. I, too, am a fan who grew up in those times, with Undertaker being my all time favorite wrestler. But unlike the analytical fans of today, who can't just enjoy the show for what it is, we always just enjoyed things as pure fans. I doubt you worried about his make up and how he takes bumps. That's what Zigglites of today worry about. We didn't think about taking bumps, how well they sell moves, or how well they cut promos. We just knew who was the good guy, who was the bad guy, and who we liked and wanted to see win.
    Updated 10-10-2012 at 07:32 AM by DK Wrestling Savior
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